‘We will listen to everyone’ vows head of town taskforce
THE man leading the taskforce driving forward the regeneration of the town centre has promised to listen to everyone’s ideas.
Commercial property expert Nick Hynes met with the newlyestablished Macclesfield Town Centre Vision Design Board last Thursday.
Set up by Cheshire East Council following Debenhams’ decision to back out of plans to anchor the £90m Silk Street scheme, its role is to advise the council and its partners to help secure investment, funding and delivery for the overall vision for the town.
So far membership includes Cheshire East Council (CEC) officers, representatives from the Make it Macc forum, campaign group Wake Up Macc, the Civic Society, the Treacle Market, Barnaby and the Senior Citizens Hall, as well as retailers.
There are plans to invite councillors from CEC and the new town council, as well as youth forum representatives.
But Mr Hynes, 59, has pledged to spread his net wide to hear people’s views.
He said: “You have to give CEC and leader Michael Jones great credit for having the vision to appoint someone to listen to the people of Macclesfield. But be assured I am not here for the council. I am here for the people of Macclesfield. This isn’t a closed shop. This is an ear for the town to get into. I am here to listen to everybody this time, and then deliver it.”
Mr Hynes, who grew up in the town and still lives here, said regeneration was more than just about development.
He said: “We have to do something which is viable and sustainable for the town. But regeneration isn’t just about bricks and mortar. It’s about people and events.
“Treacle and Barnaby have been fantastic for this town. We we need to bring other events into the town.”
The immediate focus of the panel, which will meet every month, is to investigate options for a leisure scheme, such as a cinema, and map the town centre to ensure areas that require regeneration outside municipal boundaries aren’t missed.
Mr Hynes said he hopes to hand over an interim report to the council by the end of the summer and a full report to the leadership by the end of the year.
He said: “We need to do things quickly but not a knee-jerk reaction. It is about compromise. You’re not going to please everyone. But it’s do or die. We are not doing as well as other towns and we have to do something about it.”
●● Nick Hynes